On my recent trip to San Francisco I found myself checkout out the hotel at 11am with a flight leaving a 9pm going through Miami with a 10h stop before heading further to Berlin.
When checking in at the airport the American Airlines self-checkin terminal asked me whether to buy a daypass for the Admiral’s Club for $50.
With free drinks, snacks, super fast WiFi, a calm place, comfortables seats, unlimited electricity and even a shower I was really impressed.
The service also included a personal reminder for my flight to Miami as they plane arrived late at the gate. With this custom announcement I was able to relax another 30 minutes instead of waiting at the gate in a crowd.
While I surely won’t use this facility on every trip, the day spent at the airport was productive. Absolutely no comparison to any public place at the airport.
So my pro tip: don’t hesitate to spend a few bugs for access to a calm place with excellent infrastructure. You will earn the money back with productivity.
Flying to the US several times always included 4 hours of getting a internet connection.
I am there’s t-mobile USA and I am a t-mobile Germany customer. But of course this doesn’t change anything. Their special offer is 10MB traffic for “only” 14,95 €. No thanks! And, btw, t-mobile has a pretty bad network coverage in the US.
Instead I tried AT&T Go, a prepaid card. Well, it works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t. Don’t ask me why. It cost me several hours to not figuring out what the problem was. My guess is that it’s about registering my device with its IMEI nr. What an unnecessary step.
Use a MiFi.
I want to be reachable with my German phone number so I don’t want to change sim cards. Instead I usually carry an additional MiFi, a small device with a sim and battery opening up a WiFi. Just for me :)
A significant advantage of a MiFi is that it not only works for my phone but the WiFi can also help me to use my laptop, iPad, Kindle, … you name it.
Ok, it’s another device to carry but this comes with another battery, as well. So my phone suffers less as the WiFi module usually eats less than the 3G module.
No LTE, No 3G connection with US carriers
Once you have overcome all barriers and have your device connected to the internet you might be pretty disappointed about the connection speed. This is because 3G and LTE frequencies for the US and Europe are different.
For me the solution was to get a US MiFi from Verizon. I am sure other providers will work as well.
However, the Verizon web interface doesn’t accept my German credit card. So whenever I come to the US I walk into a Verizon shop or Radioshag and get a refill code because they do can charge my German credit card in the store. Silly but that’s how it is.
Remember that charging money to your Verizon account is one thing. You still have to sign in and use this money to purchase a prepaid internet plan. Last time 3 GB was $60, 10 GB $90. Fair enough.
Both coverage and connection speed are fair.
So this plan works for me.
Maybe it can safe you time, too.
As a frequent traveller I fell a love with my Mac Book Air a few years ago. Especially after they upgraded to 8GB RAM and 512 GB SDD I was really happy with it.
In my opinion the MacBook Air is the model with the best cost benefit ratio in Apple’s notebook line.
Also I really really enjoyed the long battery lifetime of the Air.
The fact that the MacBook Pro series also comes with a max. of 1TB hdd also made me curious. While most of the day I don’t need so much disk space especially digital photography and iTunes movies eat up huge amounts of disk space.
So in the end I went for more RAM and HDD vs. longer battery lifetime.
My current experience is that even on a 16 hour one stop flight from Berlin to San Francisco, the Mac Book Pro kept me working all flight long. Not continuously but whenever I had in my mind I could do.
Please allow a little excursion on working in a plain.
Saving battery power in the plain is easy.
Watch your browser and more precisely. Watch your browser tabs / web pages. Web pages such as Facebook are not just html. They are real applications and they do a hell lot of stuff in the background. This uses a lot of CPU and networking turning your computer into an fancy heater.
Watch your twitter client. I really don’t know what this piece of software is doing. Actually it’s only about storing a few 140 character texts but this piece of software is greedy. It burns CPU and eats a lot of RAM.
Videos. Watching videos of course eats battery.
So in a plane I switch of most applications I don’t need. Including things like Mail and Dropbox using the activity manager to identify them.
The next big energy consumer is - of course - the display.
Reducing the brightness of your display heavily increases battery lifetime. Usually it’s not very bright in a plane anyway, so reducing the screen brightness is much better for the concentration, too.
Back to the Mac Book topic.
So far I’ve been using the Mac Book Pro 13” for a few weeks. My interim balance very is positive.
The retina display. When I got my first Mac Book Pro with a retina display, I returned it the next day. Barely no application supported the new resolution which was really disappointing. In the meanwhile things have changed. Only trouble I’ve seen, is with Java applications. The rest is just awesome. I really enjoy changing the screen resolution according to my mood. Sometimes, when I am tired, for example, I like big letters. Other times I prefer a larger resolution so more windows can fit in. Works fine.
RAM and HDD. There’s is not much to say about this except that I currently do not have to think about it anymore. 16 GB RAM and 1 TB HDD is more than enough for me.
I am 100 % happy with the Mac Book Pro 13. However, for those who don’t want to spend too much on a computer or have a strong emphasize on battery lifetime, the Mac Book Air is also a brilliant piece of technology.
Loosing focus is not only a matter of distraction. It’s also a question of self-control. - Recognize focus losses and refocus.
Did I just write this down? Damn, I failed. Actually I am about to read another blog post :-D
I do more and more recognize that flickr lacks of important features to be interesting for me. I am disappointed.
You can’t search fotos by set name .
I take a lot of pictures and don’t have time to manage them in detail. So what I usually can’t provide is: title, description, tags. Basically everything flickr relies on when it comes to search pictures. Fail! A misconception in my opinion.
No batch download to share photos with friends.
There are several threads in the flickr forum where people demand downloading photos in batches. I think Apple’s mobile.me solved this nicely. There you can share a gallery with friends and they can download them as zip archive.
I mean that’s what people want.
I guess that’s not what flickr wants. The pro account allows you to store an unlimited amount of pictures. Pretty weird actually. So maybe they don’t want people to misuse flickr an online storage instead of an online photo gallery.
Whatever flickr’s philosophy is. I don’t like it.
No batch downloads to download my own photos.
Ok, they don’t want people to download too much. I got it. But I can’t even download my photos by myself? That’s a complete epic fail!
There are third party tools to do that so you can get around this but still … fail!
ConferenciaRails 2011, a set on Flickr.RailsHoster's impressions from this year's (2011) Conferencia Rails, Madrid, Spain.